1. Screens. This won’t be easy. My default mode when bored, waiting for anything (children, food to cook, program to start, appointments) is to open my phone and start fiddling. I used to be religious about checking my e-mail only once daily, but slowly I’ve begun opening it at any opportunity. It’s a distraction and a time-suck, and let’s not even talk about Facebook. I will set parameters for recreational screen time.
2. White sugar and white flour. I’ve just begun reading a fabulous book called The Happiness Diet whichthis fabulous book today!)
3. Mindless eating. I tend to read while I eat and this leads to mindless eating. I become engrossed in the story in front of me and forget that I’m feeding my face at the same time. I need to pay attention to what I am putting in my body. Not just what I eat, but how much. I want to enjoy my food more. I’m certain I can’t give up my morning newspaper with breakfast, but I can stop reading during lunch. It’s a start.
4. Mediocre books. I’m inclined to be forgiving when a book I’m reading skims the surface of good writing. No more. There are too many good books out there to read. I will put down an average, semi-interesting book in favor of a fabulous book. This will have the added benefit of helping my own writing. And maybe I'll finally make a dent in the stacks of books that crowd my shelves waiting to be read.
5. Meanness. For me, this means giving people the benefit of the doubt and assuming they have a good reason for rude or selfish behavior. I will try hard not to harbor bad feelings or grumble about other people because the only person this affects is me. I will be kind whenever I have the option, which is always. I will avoid people and situations where meanness flourishes.
6. Complaining. I find myself many times complaining about situations I can do nothing about. The only thing my complaining does is irritate the people around me and promote an atmosphere of negativity. Enough. If I have an issue with something I will act to fix the problem or I will leave it be and shut my mouth.
7. Driving. A few years ago my kids and I watched the movie No Impact Man and it really motivated me tocondense my running around. I wanted to reduce the impact I was having on the environment so I consolidated errands and figured out ways to drop some trips all together. There are many, many days when I have to drive to and from the high school (a 15 minute trip one way) several times a day. In the end between household errands and my kid’s commitments, I spend too much time in the car. I don’t know if I can reduce this time, but I’m sure gonna try. Hopefully, by taking advantage of my newly minted teenage driver and car pooling, I will reduce my own drive time.
8. Shoulds. Last month I was in my favorite tea shop in York and I spied a delectable sounding smoothie on the menu board. I commented, “That sounds amazing, but I really shouldn’t.” The owner of the shop replied, “Did you just ‘should’ yourself?” I ordered the smoothie and as I drank it I thought about the fact that I ‘should’ myself on a regular basis. Sometimes those shoulds are good for me. I should exercise. I should eat healthy. I should write something. But many times those shoulds keep me from my own happiness.
9. Stuff. This is an eternal quest for me, but I really would like to have less stuff. I cart boxes full of stuff to Goodwill and give away even more stuff on Freecycle, yet my house remains packed with stuff. This year I will find more ways to have less stuff.
10. Nagging. I am a firm believer in independence and natural consequences, yet I continue to nag mychildren. I can’t help myself. This year I will be better about allowing my kids to do their own thing, but I’ll also be better at following through with the consequences from those choices. Homework grade slipping? There goes the wifi! Didn’t do your kitchen chore? Sorry, chauffeur service not available! I don’t want to be a nag, so I won’t be.
What do you want LESS of in 2014?